By Rick Rothacker
(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co
The No. 4 U.S. bank by assets said in a statement that the increase of 3 cents to 25 cents per share was part of a capital plan that received approval from the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2012.
Wells in March raised its quarterly dividend by 10 cents to 22 cents per share after the Fed completed annual stress tests on large U.S. banks. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, banks now need the Fed's assent before increasing dividends and buying back more shares.
The San Francisco-based bank said it asked the Fed permission to return more capital to shareholders as part of its 2013 capital plan, which is under review. The Fed is expected to complete its work in March, after which approved banks can raise dividends or buy back more shares for the period that runs from the second quarter of 2013 through the first quarter of 2014.
"We remain committed to returning more capital to our shareholders," Wells Chief Executive John Stumpf said in a statement.
The dividend of 25 cents per share is payable March 1 to stockholders of record on February 1.
Wells has about 5.3 billion shares outstanding. The increased dividend is worth an extra $12.7 million to Wells' largest shareholder, Warren Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway
Wells has emerged as one of the healthier U.S. banks since the financial crisis. It has been able to raise payouts for shareholders in recent years, while rivals such as Bank of America Corp
U.S. regional bank BB&T Corp
Wells Fargo shares closed up 11 cents, or 0.31 percent, at $35.04 on Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting By Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina,; Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz in New York)